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Red Dao villagers offer homestays, stunning views in Ha Giang Province

Unique cultures

Nam Hong Village, located about 40 kilometers from the center of the province’s Hoang Su Phi District, offers visitors and trekkers the breathtaking landscape of the nationally acclaimed Hoang Su Phi rice fields, ancient Shan Tuyet tea gardens in Phin Ho and unique culture of the local Dao people.

Culinary experts describe the uniqueness of Nam Hong’s traditional foods, including bamboo-tube rice, field carp, unripe sticky rice, Thang Co (a soup containing meat, vegetables and special spices), smoked buffalo meat, red plum and rice wine.

Nam Hong’s special unripe sticky rice was previously used by locals to entertain only VIPs, while field carp grown in rice paddies is only available in Nam Hong in the ripe rice season.

Farming carp on terraced rice fields is an ancient tradition in Hoang Su Phi in general and Nam Hong in particular. The fish eat pests, kill weeds and fertilize rice plants while eating scattered rice and rotting straw. Carp raised in rice fields provide high-quality meat and fetch a good price.

In recent years, rice field carp farming in Nam Hong has reached high yields, contributing positively to agricultural and rural economic restructuring, increasing farmer incomes and alleviating poverty.

Travel companies offer special tours in the area, including a four-day Hoang Su Phi-Nam Hong-Thong Nguyen-Ha Giang-Dong Van tour, and tours to palm forests, tea hills, flower fields, and terraced ripe rice fields, among others.

Homestay of Trieu Menh Quyen's family in Nam Hong

Tourists take photos at the homestay of Trieu Menh Quyen's family

Tourism-based livelihoods

In 2015, four village households received financial support to upgrade their houses and purchase blankets and other bedding stuffs from a Swiss project to improve the livelihoods of ethnic minorities in Vietnam.

Just two years after its launch, the community-based tourism model prospered, helping improve villagers’ income. The number of households offering homestay services has since increased to 10, all capable of serving large groups of guests.

A project beneficiary, Trieu Menh Quyen, said the funding helped his household repair and redecorate their house and purchase equipment. He can now accommodate 10 guests, charging VND300,000 per person per day (including accommodations and food). Before the COVID-19 pandemic, his family welcomed 700 visitors a year.

Another homestay owner in Nam Hong, Trieu Mui Lieu, said that apart from her old house, her family built an additional house with 11 rooms to satisfy the growing demand for homestay services. Lieu’s household earned VND3-4 million per month from homestay services.

The community-based tourism model has created breakthroughs in different northern mountainous villages including Nam Hong while helping improve villagers’ income and encouraging sustainable tourism development.

Thanh Tam

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